Mathematician:Mathematicians/Sorted By Nation/Belgium

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For more comprehensive information on the lives and works of mathematicians through the ages, see the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, created by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson.

The army of those who have made at least one definite contribution to mathematics as we know it soon becomes a mob as we look back over history; 6,000 or 8,000 names press forward for some word from us to preserve them from oblivion, and once the bolder leaders have been recognised it becomes largely a matter of arbitrary, illogical legislation to judge who of the clamouring multitude shall be permitted to survive and who be condemned to be forgotten.
-- Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics, 1937, Victor Gollancz, London

Burgundian Netherlands

Gerardus Mercator (1512 – 1594)

Flemish geographer, cosmographer and cartographer.

Best known for the $1569$ world map based on a new projection now referred to as Mercator's projection.
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Simon Stevin (1548 – 1620)

Flemish mathematician, engineer and writer most famous for inventing the decimal notation for the rendering of fractions.

Recommended the use of a decimal system be used for weights and measures, coinage and for measurement of angles.

Wrote most of his work in Dutch, believing it the best language for communication of scientific and mathematical ideas.
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Spanish Netherlands

Grégoire de Saint-Vincent (1584 – 1667)

Flemish Jesuit and mathematician, best remembered for his work on quadrature of the hyperbola.

Gave an early account of the summation of geometric series

Resolved Zeno's paradox by showing that the time intervals involved formed a geometric progression and thus had a finite sum.
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French Empire / Republic

Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (1796 – 1874)

Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist.

Founded and directed the Brussels Observatory.

Influential in introducing statistical methods to the social sciences.

Founded the science of anthropometry and developed the body mass index scale, originally called the Quetelet index.
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Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau (1801 – 1883)

Belgian physicist and mathematician.

One of the first people to demonstrate the illusion of a moving image.

Invented the first device to show a moving image by means of a series of stills, thereby inventing the concept of cinema.
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Pierre François Verhulst (1804 – 1849)

Belgian mathematician and a doctor in number theory, best known for the logistic growth model.
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Eugène Charles Catalan (1814 – 1894)

French and Belgian mathematician who is most famous for his work in combinatorics and number theory.
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Belgium

Maurice Kraitchik (1882 – 1957)

Belgian mathematician and writer who wrote on number theory and recreational mathematics.

Proved in $1922$ that the Mersenne number $M_{257}$ is composite, contrary to the claims of Marin Mersenne.
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Paul Poulet (1887 – 1946)

Belgian amateur mathematician working in number theory.

Published his investigations into sociable numbers in $1918$.

Calculated the Fermat pseudoprimes to base $2$ (now called Poulet numbers) up to $50$ million in $1926$, then up to $100$ million in $1938$.

Published $43$ new multiperfect numbers in $1925$, including the first two known octo-perfect numbers.
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Edouard Zeckendorf (1901 – 1983)

Belgian doctor, army officer and amateur mathematician, best known for Zeckendorf's Theorem.
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Elias Menachem Stein (1931 – 2018)

Belgian-born American mathematician known as a leading figure in the field of harmonic analysis.
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Simon Bernhard Kochen (b. 1934 )

Belgian-born American mathematician, working in the fields of model theory, number theory and quantum mechanics.
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